It is fond of cool areas: it grows more easily on the ubac - the northern slope – receiving little sunshine. This preference can be explained by the fact that it does not lose its leaves during the winter, so, in order not to freeze, it needs a good snow cover!
Handsome as Apollo
Panorama on the Mont-Blanc massif
Admire the view of these other peaks: Aiguille de Bionassay (4052 m), Dômes de Miage (3633 m) or Aiguille Nord de Tré la Tête (3892 m), the highest peak of the nature reserve. From this position, you can observe the different natural environments protected by the reserve situated in an area with over 2800 m of altitude variation, starting at the forest level.
The Northern Wheatear
This is the male of the Northern Wheatear, a sparrow-sized passerine bird. Nevertheless, this 25g featherweight is a long-distance migratory bird. Indeed, if it comes to nest in the mountains during the summer season, in search of insects such as flies, crickets and other grasshoppers, which abound in the alpine grasslands, it spends the winter much further south, in the savannas of tropical Africa, from Mauritania to Tanzania!
The Black Grouse
The male, or rooster, with its blue-black plumage and its red wattles above the eye, which are fleshy appendages, can’t be confused with any other bird.
The hen, which raises the broods on its own, has a less colorful and reddish-brown plumage, providing good camouflage and protection from predators. Homochromy is the word used for this protective coloring in animals that makes an individual visually become part of the landscape.
The mountain refuge of la Balme
Estimate the height of the roof and imagine that during the winter only the chimney isn’t covered by the snowpack!
This refuge is open from June to September.
The breed called "Abondance" was born in the village of the same name in the Chablais area in Haute-Savoie. It can be recognized by its mahogany-colored coat and belly and its white head.
The "d'Herens" breed is coming from the Valais region in Switzerland. More stocky, it has a plain coat, often black, sometimes dark red or chestnut. Its lively and belligerent behavior is used during the traditional "Fight of the queens" in the 3 areas around Mont-Blanc. But don’t panic, these games are harmless for the competing animals!
The mountain pasture
Without the grazing of domestic animals at this altitude, this environment would be composed by few species of bushes and according animal species. The alpine pasture is a rare example of human activity generating biodiversity in both animal and plant species, more abundant than what the natural evolution of the environment would produce. It hosts many species of plants, birds, invertebrates, mammals...
The Ring Ouzel
The Ring Ouzel can be recognized by the white bib on its chest.
- Take the track on your right towards "Chalets de Roselette".
- Take the track on the right.
- At the bifurcation, take the track on the right, going up to "Les prés".
- At "chalet des prés", take the track that goes up on your right.
- Continue on the passable track to go down.
Access and parking
Cross the village and stay on the Route de Notre Dame de la Gorge (D902) for 1.5 kilometers until you reach the cable cars of "la Gorge".
Park at the large ski lift park on your left.
Take the gondolas to "le Signal".
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